Fire Blocks in a wall

plumeriavineMarch 2, 2010

When a partition wall is built, is a fire block included?

If so, what would it look like?

Are there different variations?

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brickeyee

It depends on what code is being used.

The national codes only require blocking if the cavity is more than 10 feet tall, but many localities use a shorter height.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 3:10PM
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HandyMac

Interior walls have sheet rock as fire block. Walls between habitable areas and garages/storage areas might require more than sheet rock for fire blocking. Fire blocking is required when making a hole in interior to garage areas.

Depends on local codes. Call your local codes or building inspection office.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 7:03PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

In our locality, we have to put them in if the wall is higher than 8 feet. They don't care where though, just as long as it cuts the distance to less than 8.
Now, generically, sometimes people say fire-blocking when they mean fire-stopping, which isn't necessarily wood blocks, but could be; it's also permissible to be metal or rock wool, or a special fire-stopping foam insulation.
Just wanted to cover all the bases.
Casey

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 10:46PM
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sierraeast

Out here on exterior walls taller than 8', you have to have them by code and layed out so that your exterior wall sheathing catches them at the top edge as a nailer. Back in the day, solid blocking of exterior walls was mandatory no matter the height, every stud space. Now it's 3 blocks from every corner,( 3 stud spaces), and 2 blocks each side every opening. I always solid block all stud cavaties exterior walls and strategic blocking interiors for cabinetry, towel bars, stair rail brackets, etc.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:48AM
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snoonyb

Old school;
3 from a corner or doorway, 2 from a window interior or exterior.
If I'm in the grove and the rhythm feels right, I'll continuos block.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:39PM
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plumeriavine

What is strategic blocking of interior walls for cabinetry?

Reinforcing the wall for the cabinetry?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:47PM
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brickeyee

Blocking for cabinets, towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc.
is not normally placed to block the stud cavity.

The width of the wood is against the inside of the wall to provide as large a target as possible for fasteners.

Sometimes even 1x lumber is used.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 8:58AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Plumaria:
It means that there is a continuous row of blocks, with the flat side out (to present a broad face) at the height of the tops and bottoms of the cabinet boxes (and countertop height if you want the Rolls Royce treatment) so that the cabinets can be hung without searching (sometimes in vain) for studs. It lets you put the screws inconspicuously right near the corners. It eliminates a second hole where the installer missed the stud on the first try. One disadvantage: the bottom wall cabinet line is where a lot of wires have to be for U/C lighting, plugmold, etc., and those wires have to be drilled through those blocks; you have to know exactly where you want the wires, and it's harder to relocate them later.
Casey

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 10:17AM
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macv

Most codes (including the IRC) require partitions to have vertical fireblocking at the ceiling and floor levels (usually provided by the top and bottom plates), and horizontal fireblocking not more than 10 ft along the wall (usually provided by the studs or mineral wool/fiberglass insulation).

There are other fireblocking requirements for soffits, dropped ceilings, cove ceilings, chimneys, stairs, etc.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 11:20AM
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macv

Firestopping vs Fireblocking

Before the members of CABO changed the organization's name to ICC and published the IRC, the 1995 CABO 1 & 2 Family Dwelling Code (section 602.7 "Firestopping required") contained the same requirements as the 2000 IRC (section R602.8 "Fireblocking required") except that the term "fireblocking" was substituted for "firestopping" throughout the section.

I don't know why this change was made but it might have been a concession to SBCCI since it appears to be the only member organization that preferred the term "firestopping".

Fireblocking requirements are independent of the requirements for construction of fire partitions, fire separation walls, and fire walls. They are also independent of the structural requirements for bearing walls and partitions.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 12:03PM
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plumeriavine

Related issue: is insulation mandated in partition walls?

Sorting this out, sheet rock is a fire block for partition walls? Sheet rock means drywall?

Which types of code books might have these types of details? You know, like NEC for Electrical, UPC for Plumbing.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 5:26PM
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macv

A partition is an interior wall so insulation is not mandated (I assume you mean by code) but you might add it for a small amount of sound isolation in walls without door openings.

Sheetrock is USG's trade name for gypsum wall board, aka drywall. Drywall is not a "fireblock". You may be confusing the term fireblocking with a "fire separation wall" but that would only be required between separate dwelling units. The wall separating an attached garage from a single-family dwelling does not really have a name or a fire-resistance rating so it is effectively a smoke partition.

This information should be contained in whatever building code is used in your community. Ask the local building department for the proper codes and then buy them online.

Where is the project?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:40PM
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macv

A wall separating a dwelling from an unheated or partially heated garage would need to be insulated.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 7:43PM
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snoonyb

"The wall separating an attached garage from a single-family dwelling does not really have a name or a fire-resistance rating"
Oh but they do. They are effectively an occupancy seperation and in some cases not only require a single layer of 5/8 drywall, where beneath a 2nd story deck or causeway designated as egress, 2 layers of 5/8th's on both walls and ceiling.

The kicker is that a doorway has a 20min door on a self-c;osing device.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:46AM
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macv

All parts of a single-family dwelling, including a private attached garage, are considered the same occupancy so there are no occupancy separations. If the drywall is not fire-resistant (type X or type C) and is not required to be on both sides of the studs, the assembly cannot pass the ASTM test that establishes a fire resistance rating.

I don't know why you mention decks and causeways, the OP was asking about partitions. I know of no code that requires a double layer of drywall at a garage. What code are you using? The IRC requires drywall on the garage side to be 1/2" non-rated gypsum wall board.

As for doors in a shared garage wall, the IRC requires a solid wood door, a steel clad door, or a 20 minute fire-rated door but there is no requirement for the frame or an automatic closer so the assembly cannot meet the requirements for a fire-rated door.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:17PM
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macv

Until the OP tells us where the project is located or what code applies, it is pointless to answer code questions.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:20PM
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plumeriavine

thank you for helping to clarify. I've been trying to track down the governing codes. Sorry to not respond faster. It was not through a lack of trying.

I fall under the 2007 California Building and Fire Codes.

I've been wading my way through what I can so far find of the code book.

I haven't found anything as specific as "fire resistant X or C on both sides of the studs." There's got to be something like that that applies.

Anyone have any more clues?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 11:59PM
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plumeriavine

I am still working on this - - one partition wall has a washer/dryer on one side and the kitchen on the other.

Should the wall behind the washer/dryer be considered a high humidity area and need cementboard instead of drywall?

Maybe not - - just a question.

There are numerous penetrations that haven't been filled in. Looking at firestops on Wikipedia, there seem to be standards for mending drywall and floors/ceilings that have had cables punched through. Any pointers as to if or when firestops are required for penetrations?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 12:55AM
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brickeyee

"Should the wall behind the washer/dryer be considered a high humidity area and need cementboard instead of drywall? "

Humidity is not what requires anything extra, water does.

In most houses only the walls around a shower or tub require a moisture barrier.

Some places allow even tubs without a shower head to slide.

The other bathroom walls can be regular drywall, along with kitchen back splashes, laundry areas, etc.

It is the repeated soaking with water that creates the requirement.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 9:17AM
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macv

The 2007 California Building Code (CBC) is a modified version of the 2006 International Building Code (IBC) and both are published by the International Code Council (ICC). You can order a copy of the 2 volume set online from the ICC for $600 or from other code bookstores. Ordering it through a member of the ICC will save $120. There might be a set available at your local library; ask the local building inspector.

Most other states have also adopted the International Residential Code (IRC) for one & two family dwellings 3 stories or less in height which is the code that I quoted earlier but California has not adopted it so it is necessary to find the requirements for occupancy group R-3, 1&2 family dwellings, and occupancy group U, garages.

However, the requirements for private garage separation is the same in the IRC, IBC and the CBC except that the IBC and CBC also require a door closer.

2007 California Building Code:
"406.1.4 Separation. Separations shall comply with the following:
1. The private garage shall be separated from the dwelling
unit and its attic area by means of a minimum 1/2-inch gypsum board applied to the garage
side. Garages beneath habitable rooms shall be
separated from all habitable rooms above by not less
than a 5/8-inch Type X gypsum board or equivalent.
Door openings between a private garage and the
dwelling unit shall be equipped with either solid wood
doors or solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less
than 1 3/8-inches thick, or doors in compliance
with Section 715.4.3. Openings from a private
garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes
shall not be permitted. Doors shall be self-closing and
self-latching."

The above referenced Section 715.4.3 allows doors with a 20 minute fire protection rating to be used in a "smoke-barrier wall" which is effectively what the garage separation wall is rather than a fire separation wall. In the CBC an attached private garage is considered an accessory occupancy use to the residential occupancy use so there is no occupancy fire separation required.

Anywhere that hot gasses could rise from one floor to the floor above it (excluding floor openings for stairways, etc) must be fireblocked/firestopped. That is accomplished by the top and bottom plates of normal walls that don't have soffits, dropped ceilings, etc. Holes and spaces around pipes and wiring that penetrate the plates are normally sealed with a special fire-resistant foam. The building code describes what can be used and where.

The wall behind a washing machine doesn't need any special treatment unless you are going to be hosing things down but you might want to provide an additional layer of drywall for sound separation.

I am curious why you are asking these construction questions. Are you planning to build or repair a house yourself?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 9:25AM
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snoonyb

Interesting!
1st this " macv (My Page) on Sat, Mar 6, 10 at 22:17
All parts of a single-family dwelling, including a private attached garage, are considered the same occupancy so there are no occupancy separations.
I don't know why you mention decks and causeways,"

It was general information based upon 35+ yrs. of working on single, multiple occupancies including high rise commercial as and for contractors archetects, endineers and as an inspecter.

"I know of no code that requires a double layer of drywall at a garage. What code are you using? The IRC requires drywall on the garage side to be 1/2" non-rated gypsum wall board."

Would you like a list of the communities that i presently accomplish repairs for, which have this as an application?

"As for doors in a shared garage wall, the IRC requires a solid wood door, a steel clad door, or a 20 minute fire-rated door but there is no requirement for the frame or an automatic closer so the assembly cannot meet the requirements for a fire-rated door."

And now this;

"However, the requirements for private garage separation is the same in the IRC, IBC and the CBC except that the IBC and CBC also require a door closer.

2007 California Building Code:
"406.1.4 Separation. Separations shall comply with the following:
1. The private garage shall be separated from the dwelling
unit and its attic area by means of a minimum 1/2-inch gypsum board applied to the garage
side. Garages beneath habitable rooms shall be
separated from all habitable rooms above by not less
than a 5/8-inch Type X gypsum board or equivalent.
Door openings between a private garage and the
dwelling unit shall be equipped with either solid wood
doors or solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less
than 1 3/8-inches thick, or doors in compliance
with Section 715.4.3. Openings from a private
garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes
shall not be permitted. Doors shall be self-closing and
self-latching."

All of these are based upon the UBC and can be ammended to more closley reflect local applications.

"IRC, IBC and the CBC except that the IBC and CBC "

Certainly glad to have expanded your horizons.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 2:08PM
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plumeriavine

Thank you all for your detailed answers.

If there is a tankless water heater in a basement, does that mean fireblocking/firestopping would be needed between the basement and the first story? I am thinking about the comment about the hot gasses.

Additionally, if we vent a dryer from the first floor through the basement to the exterior wall, would this also be considered hot gasses?

Does anyone have a picture of what top and bottom plates of normal walls look like?

Does anyone have a code reference for the use of fire resistant foam in penetrations?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 2:30PM
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macv

I quoted the IRC because of it's almost universal adoption in the US and the lack of information from the OP regarding the applicable code. Then you contradicted me by quoting local ordinances or assuming the building is multi-family... for a homeowner on a home forum? Why would you feel the need to do that and how would it help the OP?

I don't know why you have quoted what I said in the previous posts. Now that the OP has identified the building code I quoted the requirements from it. It all comes from the 2007 California Building Code which is taken verbatim from the 2006 IBC.

The 1997 UBC required a 1-hour rated wall on the garage side but that code hasn't been the building code in California for 3 years.

The UBC term "on the garage side" has always seemed odd since fire rating test standards require an interior partition to be able to be exposed to fire on either side of the wall so there can be no rating that applies one side of a partition and not the other. In fact, the original definition of Type X drywall is that thickness of the material that can achieve a 1-hour fire rating with an equal thickness on each side of the wall. That happened to be 5/8" thick at the time. 5/8" Type X on one side of a a partition and 1/2" regular drywall on the other is not a 1-hour rated partition. Three years ago, a local local building official might have accepted 2 layers of type X on the garage side as an equivalent or alternative to a 1-hour rated wall for a renovation project but it would not be allowed in new construction.

If you are concerned about local ordinances modifying the 2007 CBC to require additional protection on the garage side, you should ask the OP where the project is located and find out if that municipality has enacted modifications rather than wasting your time harassing me.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 3:04PM
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snoonyb

"The 1997 UBC required a 1-hour rated wall on the garage side but that code hasn't been the building code in California for 3 years."

This, again, is not necessesarily true. As I said, Its up to the interests and application of the juridictional authority. They can adopt it as written or make it more stringent, BUT NEVER LESS.
That is why, here on the truely left coast, there is a State code and in some cases a county and or versions of the code adopted by the individual municipalitys.

"If you are concerned about local ordinances modifying the 2007 CBC to require additional protection on the garage side,"

Again, general information, which I am becoming convinced, you are immune to the concept of.

"rather than wasting your time harassing me."

You mean, of course, broadening your horizons.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 8:38PM
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snoonyb

"If there is a tankless water heater in a basement, does that mean fireblocking/firestopping would be needed between the basement and the first story? I am thinking about the comment about the hot gasses.

Additionally, if we vent a dryer from the first floor through the basement to the exterior wall, would this also be considered hot gasses?"

These two would be best addressed in the plumbing forum.

"Does anyone have a picture of what top and bottom plates of normal walls look like?"

Here is a very good site: http://www.awc.org/pdf/WCD1-300.pdf

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 8:58PM
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macv

"Old school;
3 from a corner or doorway, 2 from a window interior or exterior.
If I'm in the grove and the rhythm feels right, I'll continuos block."

That's all you could contribute?

Can you be so ignorant about building code fire protection requirements that you don't know what hot gasses are or what fireblocking is?

I don't think so; I think you are an internet troll pretending to be stupid in order to disrupt the discussion and you have succeeded because everyone is now gone so you can talk to yourself; I'm gone too.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 9:30PM
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sierraeast

"If I'm in the grove and the rhythm feels right, I'll continuos block."

Taken as if you aren't in the groove, you dont solid block? Typical attitude of a racetrack tradesperson! I solid block whethwer Im feeling great, on a roll, or if I left the house after being bit by the dog. It's the project that's the consideration, not all about you!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:33AM
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snoonyb

sierraeast

Sorry to hear that your having so much dificulty getting off the front porch.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 8:57PM
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sierraeast

It's called old age dude! The only thing to look forward to in this business is a bad back and a bad attitude! :-)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 10:27AM
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snoonyb

Really!

I'm 68 and wear the bags every day.
I guess the attitude is something to look forward too.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 11:01PM
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